Spanish moss

species of plant, Spanish moss

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is a flowering plant that grows on trees in many tropical and subtropical areas in the Americas.

It is known in the United States. It is often found on the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). It lives in the lowlands, swamps, and marshes of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, from the coast of southeastern Virginia to Florida and west to southern Arkansas and Texas.

Spanish moss is not parasitic: it is an epiphyte which absorbs nutrients and water through its own leaves from the air and rain falling upon it. Spanish moss has been used for many purposes, including building insulation, mulch, packing material, mattress stuffing, and fiber. In the early 1900s it was used commercially in the padding of car seats.